Lovely thanksgiving. We did have about 40-45 people to the house (we’ve done this for many years now – hosting both the Martin side and the Lee side). When I tell people, oh, we are having 45 for dinner, they start freaking out on our behalf. As we were falling asleep the night before, I asked Jeremy if he was nervous hosting Thanksgiving and he said absolutely not. I asked why and he said that he was confident that he could meet everyone’s expectations. I feel like my photography skills are atrophying. As everyone gets better and better at taking amazing photos on their iPhones, I just get photos like this:

My mom is doing well, her BP is much better controlled at home and she was in fine form making her traditional egg roll appetizer for everyone.

The kids table. They aren’t really kids anymore.

Maxi, who at 9.5 years old, has been deemed mellow enough to join in during the party. This might have been her first thanksgiving. Maxi likes to jump on people and sniff their crotch (no good) and the Chinese people tend to be scared of dogs.

We had our first doggie guest. The Chinese kids were actually quite enamored by this little doggie.

The kids played some phone based computer games.

The buffet line:

The turkey was fabulous. Jeremy’s sous vide technique ended up making the breast meat so tender and juicy.

Edda napped during the party.

We finished the puzzle.

And today’s turkey sandwich. My pants are too tight.

Thanksgiving week.

Between the hours of 7 am and 10 am on Tuesday, I had argued with both Vince and Jeremy about the state of the college applications (omg. they drive me crazy. both of them.) and my mother was going to be discharged from the hospital, but her blood pressure was still in the 170s (omg. mom, what is with your bp? – they gave her half an ativan and it went down. white coat syndrome probably.) and we got a text from the basement tenants that the sewage ejection pump had stopped working and the basement was starting to flood (just omg.). Gah. By 4pm, all my problems had pretty much resolved. Vince came home and we went over our morning interaction and left it better. The plumber came at 4pm and fixed my sewage problem for $65 and my mother was discharged happily from the hospital at about 2pm. On Monday night, I had made a marzipan/coconut cake to pass time and I gave half to the nurses taking care of my mother and half I left on the counter and Maxi managed to eat that half. Well, she ate about 3/4 of the half, so I was left with a few slices myself. Which is really all I wanted in the end.

We are still mad puzzling over here. We are hosting 42 people for Thanksgiving at last count.

Kiki came on Monday from NM via Berlin. Emy drove down yesterday from Bard. We had lunch today at a Chinese place.

It was a half day today so Edda was with us. She was so happy at the restaurant.

We picked up rental tables and chairs at the party rental place. Jeremy went to whole foods to pick up 2 twenty pound turkeys. He’s going to sous vide them.

Vince and Edda hanging out.

Vince and his charcoal face mask to tighten his pores.

Hospital, Jeremy, cookies.

So my mom is in the hospital for an uncontrolled hypertensive episode. Systolic was as high as 205-210. Yikes. She got some IV blood pressure meds which seem to work and then not work and then she is also getting oral BP meds to try to get it controlled that way. She can’t really get discharged until the BP is OK with oral medications. She feels good though. Super cutie in the hospital. Kindof irritated that she can’t take a shower because of the telemetry and the doc refused to let her off the telemetry. Edda is not happy that she’s in the hospital. Sunday night will be night #3.

Jeremy came on on Saturday night. Edda was pleased because it meant that she could steal his pear. He had a good work trip. I don’t quite know what happened with his work stuff, but I do know that he had four flat tires in four bike rides. But no crashes!

I made these cookies that look good, but taste meh.

Vince went to see his grandmother.

Cooking & puzzling.

I’ve been cooking this week while Jeremy’s been gone. On Monday, I made Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs and tonight I made Weeknight Fancy Chicken and Rice. All from the NYTimes cooking section. Kitachi, Vince and Edda all were good sports and ate dinner without complaining (while picking cardamom pods out from between their teeth for the rice dish tonight)- though I did get comments from Vince like – oh! I wasn’t expecting this. They were pretty good, but not super fantastic. Vince was like, I think you need to stop making recipes from the NYTimes and find just regular recipes. I did intersperse this with a totally processed meal of chicken patties on potato rolls and tater tots on Tuesday. I’m not sure what I’m trying to prove here, but I’m obviously compensating for something.

Puzzling continues. I think this will be done tomorrow night. I need to get a new puzzle.

Biking, writerly, videos.

Jeremy went biking today somewhere on the West Coast. He did not fall. He did not get hit by a car. He’s still fine which makes me happy. I didn’t speak to him today, but I got a few texts and I see his photos. I promised him that I’d make some progress on Thanksgiving. (He took over college applications and, in return, he gave me Thanksgiving.) I ordered the turkeys today and the extra tables and chairs.

Vince stayed home from school today because he woke up and said he was feeling sick. I don’t think he’s truly sick, I just think he’s managing his energy poorly (staying up all night & drinking those terrible caffeinated energy drinks) though he insists that he isn’t (except that I find cans of the stuff in his trash can). I don’t doubt that he felt terrible at 6:45 am when I woke him up for school. I let him sleep in. He read the blog when he got out of bed at about 10am and trundled into my room while I was working and said – I’m going to rewrite all my UC essays. You said they were boring. I said that I didn’t say they were boring. He said – you said my essays weren’t writerly and therefore they are boring. I said that I said they weren’t writerly as a compliment. And then he said, I’m still rewriting them. And then he asked if I could buy him some soup.

First aid, college, Seattle.

I spent all weekend in a Wilderness First Aid class – a requirement for me to be an “adult” on the Scout Sea Base spring break trip next year. Jeremy & Vince went together a few years ago and next year Vince and I will go. It’ll be Vince’s first trip where he is going as an adult with adult responsibilities. Vince was WFA certified (with Jeremy) for Philmont so he didn’t have to go to this training again. So we went over things like: cardiac arrest, drowning, pneumothorax, hemorrhaging, fractures, carries, poisonous snakes, ticks, lightning strikes, hypothermia, heat stroke, burns, etc. After I take a class like this, I’m nervous about being responsible for other people’s children. I’m actually extra nervous because now I’m some sort of medical professional. I mean, I am a medical professional, but I almost never, ever take care of emergent situations. I’ve never called a code – I’ve come running to other people’s codes, but never my own. And I have a lot of knowledgeable coworkers and generally endless supplies/medication. I’m actually the most worried about being on a plane and then someone is having a heart attack and I’m the only medical professional on board. Jeremy’s like – you can’t not help. You have to help. And, of course, I’ll help. But I’m not going to like it.

We played victim sometimes: Doris with a head wound:

Jeremy is on his way to Seattle right now. Gone for a week for a business trip. I really have to hand it to him, he’s clicking through the college applications with Vince. Not that it doesn’t have hiccups and/or tension and/or terrible days, but it’s going. Rutgers went in this weekend. UC essays have a first draft. UBC essays are started. Since I was gone most of the weekend, I just got small updates from Jeremy. Vince was struggling with a separate essay from Rutgers which asked that if you had any difficulties or struggles that you wanted to tell the admission committee about – a few colleges have this question on their application. Vince said, Ok this is the spot that I should write about Edda, right? (This is why Vince didn’t hand in Rutgers earlier in the week, he was thinking about this question.) Jeremy was counseling Vince to leave it blank. He said to me – in semi-confidence (Vince does read this blog) – if you have a life of privilege, you should own it, you shouldn’t make up struggles that are not there. Rett Syndrome is Edda’s struggle, not Vince’s. To Vince he said – Did having Edda as your sister, in any way, prevent you from performing at your best in high school? Of course, it impacts us everyday as a family and had molded us into the people that we are, but think hard about what you think is a struggle. Vince got very angry at UC’s essay about – tell us your best talent? or what are you good at? Jeremy said there was door slamming and various drafts, but by the end of the day there was something. Writing is very difficult for Vince, he’s not a natural at it. Jeremy says the essays are not clever, flashy or writerly. He says they are in his voice as ernest, sincere and matter-of-fact which, as Jeremy says, is really who he is.

Edda went to a Friendsgiving party today with Jeremy and Eliana hosted by one of Edda’s classmates. Eliana worked this afternoon to cover Jeremy’s departure for the airport (4pm) and my arrival back at home from the Wilderness First Aid training (7pm).

Jeremy took his bike to Seattle with him. After his accident in Chicago a few weeks ago, he still hasn’t gone for a ride outside. He’s done all indoor training and the occasional bike to the Metro station 1.5 miles away from the house. I’m a little nervous that his first outdoor bike ride will be so far away from me. He was actually not going to bring his bike, but then he started calling around all the hotels making sure they had stationary bikes in their gyms and then the ones with the bikes were already fully booked, so then he’s just like – what the heck, I’ll just bring my bike.

Vince and I shook each other’s hands and promised that we would try to make it through the week without being mad at each other.

Puzzle, Safeway, Ramen.

I’m trying to figure out how to low-key hang out with people more. Actually, I’m trying to figure out how to low-key hang out with Alice and Sofi more. We are next door neighbors. In the summer, we’d see each other puttering around outside and be able to chat that way, but now it’s cold and dark and it’s not good outside chatting weather. So we started puzzling. It turns out Kitachi likes puzzles too. This was last Thursday night and it’s like a party (without music, alcohol, weed or flirting). I want to buy a superfancy puzzle from this company called Liberty Puzzles, but they are $100 each and that’s like a whole lost calculator, so instead I got a $10 one from Amazon. I think from now on, I’ll try find them at thrift stores. Actually, I just have to see if the puzzling sticks. If you ask me, I vastly prefer 15-20 min every-other-day interactions vs 3 hour every 4 month interactions. It’s almost impossible to have the 15 min every-other-day interactions as a grown up with people who aren’t your coworkers or your family.

Tater tots!

I went shopping at the Safeway that I now refer to as the Brett Kavanaugh Safeway. This is not my usual Safeway, I was out running on the C&O trail and the BK Safeway is on the way home. Jeremy was working from home today watching the impeachment hearings while reading the NYTimes live commentary. I have no interest in watching, it all makes me feel ill and unhappy, so, like so many other things in my life, I try not to think about it too much.

I made fancy ramen for dinner. It was just the three of us tonight.

Napping, calculator, fancy cake.

There were 2 half days at school this week and Edda’s aftercare, which used to provide camp until 4 pm on those days, has decided not to have aftercare on half days, so Jeremy picked her up on one day and I picked her up the other day. Edda and I hung around together Tuesday afternoon. I mainly quilted, she mainly napped.

Vince went to school today as emo/goth person to advertise for the play this weekend – Addams Family the Musical, remember? Two more shows, Friday and Sat night. Get your tickets now! He is holding the third $100 calculator that I’ve purchased for him. He lost the other two. I made him repeat after me: if I lose this calculator, I will have to replace it myself with my own money. And then Vince said – or I’ll ask Gong Gong for it for Christmas. omg. Vince was trying to tell me how awesome this calculator was, but I’m ok boomering him and saying when I was in high school, we used slide rules and abacuses. You don’t need no fancy calculator to learn calculus. But it does derivatives!, he insisted. Whatever. lol. And then Jeremy looked up our fondest calculators on the internet and we reminisced over them.

This is the last calculator I will ever buy Vince.

Edda, who has been eating infuriatingly slowly for the past few weeks, seems to have reverted back to her old self eating wise.

I made my fancy cake tonight. It doesn’t look fancy, but it is fancy because I had to grind almonds and use whole cloves and everything.

I’m doing a good job releasing my anxieties about Vince’s college stuff. I do every once in a while, for a few moments, start to get wound up like – what if he gets in nowhere? what if he gets in one place and doesn’t want to go to that place? what happens if he gets in one place and I don’t want him to go to that place? what are we doing paying a gajillion dollars for a non-ivy-league school? what crazy person would do that? he’s not ready to go because he is constantly losing $100 calculators! And then I walk back from the ledge and reframe the whole thing and then try to immediately forget about it. Another application went in today (U. Wash Seattle) with almost no fuss. Rutgers is almost ready to go. And my Senior House email list continues reminding me that what I think I want really isn’t what I want. This is from a contemporary of mine who was the same year as I was at MIT. I was not her pal, but I admired her from afar when I lived at Senior House for many reasons and then I admired her even more when she came back and became a prof at MIT and then I was heartbroken for her when I heard she didn’t get tenure. She wrote on the email distribution:

Watching the closing of SH was terrible, but unfortunately not very surprising. As faculty I got to see the other side of how students are viewed, and it was incredibly frustrating and disappointing. At grades meetings students were often written off as "not being able to cut it" and zero consideration was given to students who had major life issues going on, or were suffering from depression, or just struggling with being at MIT because they were the first in their family to go to college. Other faculty told me not to have UROPs because they were "charity cases" and not to waste my time being nice to undergrads. Faculty who do make the effort to be good educators are written off as second class citizens. There are so many MIT students who need help, but they are overwhelmingly expected to not show any weakness and just suck it up. I struggled with this because it goes against the mission of the institution, which is to educate students. As for harassment at Senior Haus, I did not witness very much, but as a faculty I saw that it was rampant--not just sexual harassment but bullying, manipulation, is deeply ingrained in the culture of MIT and it was exhausting just trying to survive. So, I am all the more grateful for having been part of the unique environment at SH, which, sadly, the administration really does not understand. I have a list of about 15 reasons as to why I don't donate to MIT, but closing SH tops the list (even above not getting tenure). Still can't believe that the administration would choose to alienate decades of alumni instead of trying to actually solve a problem.

Cake, T-rex, chargers.

It really is a shame that baking as a hobby is deleterious to one’s waistline. It’s so nice to spend an afternoon baking, but then when you are done, you have an enormous delicious cake with no choice but to eat it. I have a slight plan to bake right before I have a shift at the hospital, so I can bring it to the break room and then share it among my many coworkers, but I have to be coordinated for that. And then maybe it’s terrible to offer up extra sweets for anyone, esp since 75% of our patients are diabetic. It’s a bad day when you have to cover four patients with insulin for three meals each. As an excuse, there are actually fewer donuts at work than I thought there would be and I don’t work that often.

The last slice? Did we eat the whole cake? Yes. With ice cream.

I like to spend some mental energy during my shifts trying to come up with the “star patient interaction” of the day. Usually something amusing or interesting somebody says. I had a patient who had just gotten out of surgery. A little woozy, but not too bad. Got up to walk to the bathroom to pee. Was ordering dinner, chatting with their spouse etc. I asked, so from 0 to 10 what’s your pain right now? They looked at me and said when I’m sitting here and not moving, it’s like a 10. But then when I shift in the bed, it’s like way past a 10. I’m said, you know, the scale only goes up to a ten. And they looked at me and sighed and said, yeah, I know. Later, at dinner home with my family, I said I thought a 10 in pain meant that a T-Rex had ripped off your arm. And then Jeremy said, that doesn’t hurt for the first 30 seconds because you are in so much shock. And I agreed. But then I insisted that after the first 30 seconds it would be a 10. And then Jeremy said, well in about 3 minutes you would be dead because you’d be losing blood quickly and the T-rex, presumably, would still be after you so does it even matter that you were experiencing the worst pain imaginable for about 2 minutes? No one is going to rush on over with syringes full of fentanyl or dilaudid to help you out there.

Jeremy’s contribution to my hospital job was to buy a bunch of cheap chargers for my chargerless patients. You’d be surprised how often I get asked, do you have a charger I can borrow to charge my phone? It probably is 2nd only to, do you know when the doctor is coming by? I also get asked to validate parking, but not as often. Really nothing is sadder than a patient alone with a phone that’s out of juice who went to the ED in the morning and thought they’d be in and out, but instead, they were admitted and they had told no one where they were going. No one remembers anyone’s number anymore so they can’t even call their best friends. So Jeremy bought a bunch of cheap-o chargers for me to stash in my locker. Ones that hopefully will get returned to me, but OK if I don’t managed to get back.